Ball Janik LLP has built one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier commercial litigation practices, perennially ranked as an industry leader by Chambers USA. Our trial lawyers have impressive academic credentials, national law firm experience and proven ability to take complex cases to trial and win. Our approach is pragmatic and cost-effective for clients. The results we achieve speak volumes. On behalf of plaintiffs, we have obtained many multi-million dollar verdicts, including the largest compensatory damages award in the United States in 2006, and the largest punitive damages award in Oregon history. As defense counsel, one reason we achieve favorable settlements is because opposing counsel knows we are willing and able to go to trial. We have also been hired on the eve of important hearings and trials. We have the intellectual and organizational resources, and experience, to step in at any stage, on any matter, and drive the case to a successful outcome.
DEPTH & EXPERIENCE
In federal court in Florida, the firm successfully challenged a National Marine Fisheries Service regulation closing the entire Gulf of Mexico to grouper fishing in 2005 and 2006. In federal court in Texas, the firm successfully challenged federal catch limits on red snapper that did not consider impacts of shrimp fishing. The firm has also represented a major Northwest ski area in the development of new facilities and a new master plan, including successful defense of National Environmental Policy Act documents in administrative appeals and before the federal courts.
In federal court in Portland, we brought a price discrimination case by gasoline station operators against two oil companies who charged different prices to retail chains operated by wholesalers, as compared to stations operated by individual retailers. The case settled on confidential terms.
Our attorneys are skilled appellate advocates who have argued appeals and made law before the Appellate and Supreme Courts of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Our attorneys have also successfully appealed matters before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In one appeal before the Oregon Supreme Court, we successfully advocated for a rule that allowed for pre-judgment interest if a party retains the beneficial use of funds in dispute until a verdict is reached.
In state court in Portland, the firm successfully obtained summary judgment for a professional service provider against a multi-million dollar malpractice claim, which resulted in dismissal of the litigation.
Breach of Contract
After a favorable decision by the Oregon Supreme Court, the firm obtained a $225 million award against the State of Oregon in a class action brought by Oregon employers against a state workers’ compensation fund.
In federal court in Idaho, the firm defended the world’s largest reinsurance broker in a case brought by an insurer that allegedly suffered over $55 million in damages stemming from our client’s placement and negotiation of reinsurance. The case settled favorably on the eve of trial for a minimal sum, after successful motions practice and key factual admissions were obtained.
In federal court in Portland, the firm represented a small telecommunications company in a jury trial against AT&T. The jury awarded the firm’s client $13 million, at the time one of the largest non-class action verdicts in Oregon.
In federal court in Seattle, the firm successfully defended the Washington State Public Stadium Authority, obtaining summary judgment against constitutional claims challenging the legality of patdown searches before Seattle Seahawks games.
Construction Cost Overruns
In state court in southwestern Washington, the firm successfully defended the owner of a semiconductor manufacturing facility against a major construction cost overrun claim amount. After a four week jury trial, the plaintiff’s entire claim was found to be without merit. Our client was also awarded over $1 million in prevailing party fees, which award was affirmed on appeal.
The firm has tried construction defect cases in Oregon and Washington, obtaining jury verdicts and appellate decisions in favor of its clients in both states. The firm has significant experience in all sides of construction defect and design disputes. We have successfully represented clients in both prosecuting and defending such claims, obtaining over $50 million in settlements or judgments in such cases. The firm has also been highly successful in obtaining insurance coverage for design and construction defect problems.
Distribution and Franchise
In state and federal cases, the firm has defeated efforts to prevent a Seattle-based brewer from terminating distributors. In federal court in Portland, in a price discrimination case brought by a truckstop operator against an oil company, lawyers in the firm obtained a jury trial award of $7.5 million, an award later reduced by the Ninth Circuit. In a federal case brought on behalf of a large Seattle-area franchisee of a well-known franchisor, the firm developed evidence of fraud by the franchisor, which led to a favorable confidential settlement of the suit.
Our litigators have represented property owners and governmental bodies in condemnation and property acquisition matters. In one trial, we secured a jury finding of just compensation for real property on behalf of a local school district for approximately 50% of the value requested by the property owner. In another trial, we achieved a jury verdict of $756,000 in lost value after the City and the local transportation district restricted the main access to our client’s commercial property.
In addition to representing land use applicants in local proceedings and appeals throughout Oregon, our attorneys have significant experience in environmental and natural resources law, including water law, wetlands, water quality, endangered species, historic preservation, National Environmental Policy Act and redevelopment of contaminated properties.
The firm has successfully defended numerous clients in employment disputes before federal and state agencies and courts. The employment group is experienced in successfully handling discrimination, harassment, wage and hour, class action, whistleblower, disability and medical leave, ERISA, and wrongful termination claims.
In a state trial court in Portland, the firm obtained the largest jury verdict in the United States in 2006 and the largest verdict in Oregon history. The case, a highly complex fraudulent transfer action (which also included successful claims of successor liability and piercing the corporate veil) on behalf of MAN AG, a German industrial company, against Freightliner LLC and its DaimlerChrysler affiliates, resulted in a verdict of approximately $850 million in compensatory damages and $350 million in punitive damages. The punitive damage award was, by far, the largest in Oregon history. This case is a primary example of the aggregate skill of the firm’s trial lawyers in successfully handling complex, sophisticated business and accounting disputes.
In a federal case in Portland, we developed strong evidence that a Portland radio station formerly known as “Rosie 105” had copied its logo from the TV show hosted by our client, Rosie O’Donnell. In another federal case, we successfully defended our client in a trademark infringement action, defeating a preliminary injunction request that would have prevented our client’s use of its tradename by proving that the plaintiffs could not establish sufficient similarity between the tradenames to constitute infringement.
Power Cost Sharing Litigation
In federal court in Seattle, the firm defended a Washington public utility district in cost-sharing litigation involving Washington nuclear plants.
In federal court in Portland, the firm obtained a favorable trial ruling for the City of Portland on its claim that a TrailBlazers’ affiliate was required to make several million dollars in capital improvements to make the Rose Garden a first-class NBA arena, as required by the City’s lease. We also defeated efforts by a national retailer which sought to enjoin our client, in federal court in Portland, from making significant improvements to a downtown office tower, which allegedly interfered with the retailer’s lease rights.
Securities Broker Matters
The firm has represented plaintiffs and defendants in the state and federal trial courts, and in arbitrations before the National Association of Securities Dealers.
In federal court in the District of Columbia, the firm obtained dismissal of all claims against a former Fannie Mae director who was named as a defendant in several securities fraud and shareholder derivative actions brought against Fannie Mae and its directors and officers.
Shareholder and Partnership Disputes
In state court in Portland, the firm successfully represented investors who sought to oust the managing member of a Seattle hotel development company. In an arbitration, we defeated arguments that the exclusion of new partners from an information sharing partnership violated the partnership agreement and anti-competition statutes. In court proceedings and arbitrations, the firm has successfully handled many other such disputes.
In state court in north central Washington, the firm obtained summary judgment against claims that challenged timber cutting rights acquired by our client. In state court in southern Oregon, the firm obtained a $1.6 million judgment in favor of a client who was defrauded in a timber deal. In federal court in Portland, the firm defeated an environmental group’s challenge to a salvage logging contract between the federal government and our client.
In federal court in Los Angeles, the firm defended a $30 million trade secret misappropriation claim by a Hollywood screenwriter against a Portland software developer. On the eve of trial the case settled, and is subject to a tight confidentiality agreement. In federal court in Portland, the firm obtained dissolution of a restraining order and summary judgment against non-competition claims brought by a manufacturer against a firm client, a terminated distributor. On many occasions, the firm also has successfully prosecuted the enforcement of trade secrets laws and non-competition agreements.